When Jon Allison Design and Avenue Strategy came to Frontenac County Council a couple of years back to present the new brand identity for Frontenac County, the got a pretty rough ride. Some members of council did not think the Fir trees in the design were representative, and the overall sense at the meeting was that the design was empty.
Allison explained that it needed to be ‘empty’ in a sense so that it was both versatile and able to grow into its meaning through its application in the community. The vote to accept it was closer than anyone expected, but it did get accepted, which was a relief for c ounty staff because some giant banners were waiting at the back of the hall to be unfurled and a branded county Smart Car was sitting in the parking lot outside the meeting hall.
The InFrontenac brand has been a success, so much so that there was little drama when the two companies returned to Frontenac County Council last month with the brand identity for Fairmount Home.
The only question about the branding initiative for Fairmount had been raised at an earlier meeting, when Council was informed the brand was almost ready, and it was about the necessity of re-branding a long term care facility that had a very good reputation in the field and a long waiting list.
Lisa Hirvi, Fairmount Home Administrator, said that the brand initiative was not so much about marketing Fairmout as it was about encapsulating the gentle care philosophy that is part of the culture of the home in an image. She said it was as much about staff morale as it was about public perception. And it had to not be ‘corporate’
The new brand came about after a series of focus group meetings were held to pinpoint the core values of Fairmount.
The identified values were then associated with simple images. The core message is that Fairmount is a home, not a facility. The concept of caring is identified with a heart shaped image, the concept that the homes residents are unique individuals by a thumbprint, the concept of community and inclusion by overlapping circles, and gentlecare by a butterfly. The final drawing, at first glance, is non-descript, just two offset spheres, but when combined with text, or altered with colour schemes and other features, it was clear, at least to members of Frontenac County Council who had the experience of the way Infrontenac brand has worked its way into the public imagination, that it will be a success.
There was no dissent on council, and the new brand will be rolled out over the next few months, finding its way onto stationary, crests, even the front desk of Fairmount Home.